Claire Coutinho, the new MP for East Surrey, has a hard act to follow. Sam Gyimah, her predecessor, was a quiet, polite chap. Quitting your party on principle is a tough thing to do – but leaving the party of government where you are a minister to join the Liberal Democrats is something else.
Let’s hope Coutinho has similar dedication. Because this government might be very bad for East Surrey.
At Christmas, I made a short drive in the area, and on the way, had to swerve to avoid four dead animals in the road and four break-your-axles deep potholes. The county schools remain £23m down on their 2015 funding.
There is a Brexit problem. Caterham bobs in the wake of London. And what’s bad for the city is bad for the town. In the coming round of Brexit talks on our future relationship, which will begin shortly, what the area should want is a good deal for services. London is a services city.
This looks unlikely: it would mean taking EU rules and it would also make it harder to cut trade deals with other countries. But the government does not pretend to believe that a trade deal with anyone else could ever come close to making up for the damage of a distant relationship with the EU.
Chris Cook is a partner and editor at Tortoise, the slow news outlet. He was formerly public policy editor at BBC Newsnight and grew up in the local area. If you wish to subscribe to Tortoise, you can by going to www.tortoisemedia.com/friends for a pound a week and using the special offer code CATERHAM50https://www.tortoisemedia.com/friend/